Right now, the world is a scary and uncertain place. From disrupted treatment, lost work and wages, healthcare rationing, social isolation, and subsequent depression, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is disrupting the lives of every person in the U.S. (and the world!). These issues are especially real for those of us who are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
The Health Stories Project team wanted to get a sense of how folks who are at high risk of serious illness are coping during these trying times. We learned a lot about your concerns and fears, but through it all, we also received many heartfelt messages of kindness and caring.
Heading into another weekend of social isolation, we wanted to publish some of these messages in the hope that we can help spread some positive vibes.
Editor’s Note: #HighRiskCovid19 is an ongoing movement put together by patient advocates across the U.S. including Molly Schreiber, Jennifer Walker, Ray Bouchard, Charis Hill, Dawn Gibson, Jed Finley, and CreakyJoints. You can learn more here.
The following is a small sample of the wisdom and strength our community members had to share:
“My cancer journey has taught me not to live in fear, but to enjoy every day for what it is. So, instead of increasing negative energy in my body, I choose to find things that make me happy and bring me joy. Please, don’t get me wrong, I don’t choose to put myself in dangerous situations either. I am social distancing and go outdoors to get my sunshine and exercise fix. I take my kids with me so I still have someone to socialize with while I’m out.”
Jen H., Stage 4 Breast Cancer
“One of the drugs that I am currently taking is hydroxychloroquine. It is one of the drugs being bounced around as a treatment/prevention and I’m hoping that it is successful in prevention. I also hope, like millions of others, this passes so life can return to normal.“
Kris K, Rheumatoid arthritis
“This is evolving daily for each of us. We all should be concerned but not fearful. We are all affected in one manner or another.”
Gail T., Lupus, Pulmonary fibrosis
What message do the people in your health community need to hear today? #shareyourstory
— Health Stories Project (@HealthStories) March 30, 2020
“Video chatting has helped me stay in touch with friends and family. It reminds me of the love and care I share with the people in my social circle. It’s an opportunity to share our thoughts, feelings, and coping strategies.”
Carl W, HIV
“Please have patience with your local health departments. They are on the front lines and are doing all they can despite a shortage of supplies and lack of testing technologies. We are stronger together.”
Bobby W, HIV
“I jumped on the #HighRiskCovid19 bandwagon on day 1. People needed to see the faces of those who would be most at risk. They are not always elderly.”
Maria M., Rheumatoid Arthritis
“I appreciate the second chance I’ve been given. I’m trying to abide by all the recommendations that are coming out. I wish everybody would!”
Eileen W., Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Lung transplant
“This is not just about one person or one family. This is bigger than ourselves. Nothing has been so damaging on a global scale. Be kind. Think of others. Your actions and reactions ripple out.”
Andy O., Borderline personality disorder, bipolar, PTSD
“I would like to encourage everyone reading this to stay calm and have empathy for other people. This is a terrible tragedy in many ways, but it does give us an opportunity to help others and be kind. We need to judge people a lot less and start working to get our country back!”
Eric C., HIV, heart disease, depression and seizures